Planning commission report focuses on 2018 action, personnel changes

The Venango County Regional Planning Commission reviewed a draft of the commission’s annual report at the panel’s monthly meeting Tuesday.

Highlights from this year’s report include the commission’s success in initiating the construction of a multi-use trail along Allegheny Boulevard from Liberty Street in Franklin to Front Street in Reno.

“If you’re familiar with this stretch of highway, you know that there is significant pedestrian traffic along the northwest side of the road,” planning director Jason Ruggiero wrote in the report. “Unfortunately, there is no sidewalk for pedestrians, and they are forced to walk along a four-lane divided highway on a small dirt path.”

In 2018, the planning commission was awarded a $1 million grant as well as several smaller grants for the construction of a trail.

Also in 2018, the commission bid farewell to several staff members and welcomed some new faces to the team.

Emily Lewis left her deputy planning director position to accept a job as executive director of the Venango County Economic Development Authority. Hilary Buchanan, who formerly served with the Venango Conservation District, stepped into the role of deputy planning director.

Joshua Sterling joined the office as community development planner. Sarah McGinniss left the planning commission to attend graduate school and was replaced by Joyce Jiang, who recently completed a master’s program at the University of Pennsylvania.

In October, the county was awarded $345,502 by the state to develop a site and purchase equipment for a recycling center in Cranberry Township. The report said the facility will serve the community’s recycling needs and serve as an educational tool.

A final draft will be submitted to the county commissioners for approval at the next commissioners meeting scheduled April 9.

The planning commission meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at 191 Howard St. in Franklin.